2. Restrictions and closures

Since the start of the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Switzerland, both federal and cantonal authorities have taken measures to delay the increase in infections, protect the most vulnerable population groups and avoid overloading the health system.

As of October 1, 2020

Events with more than 1'000 participants

On 12 August 2020, the Federal Council decided to reauthorise events involving more than 1,000 people as of 1 October 2020, provided that strict protective measures are observed and that authorisation is obtained from the cantonal authorities. In granting this authorisation, the cantons will have to take account of their epidemiological situation and their ability to trace contacts.


As of July 31, 2020

Closure of festive venues

Festive venues such as nightclubs, cabarets, discos and dance halls are closed until August 23rd. A possible extension may be considered depending on epidemiological developments.

Seated consumption in bars and restaurants

In bars and restaurants, drinks and meals are eaten while seated (take-away sales are still allowed). In the absence of separation (glass or equivalent), the safety distance of 1.5 m between each table must be respected.

Wearing a mask is compulsory for customers in bars and restaurants

The compulsory wearing of a mask is extended to customers in bars and restaurants except when they are seated at the table or at the counter. This rule applies to terrace customers and take-out sales. 

Collection of customer data from bars

Bars have an obligation to collect by a reliable means the identity and contact details of customers.

Violation of these measures may be punishable by a fine.


As of July 28, 2020

Wearing a mask is mandatory In shops
  • It is compulsory for customers to wear the mask in Geneva shops.
    It is also compulsory for staff when they cannot benefit from another protection system (e.g. windows or Plexiglas).
  • For providers of services involving close physical contact
    Also concerned by the compulsory wearing of masks are service providers offering services involving close and prolonged physical contact (hairdressing salons, barber shops, beauty salons, etc.).
Hydroalcoholic solution

Those in charge of installations and establishments open to the public must make a hydro-alcoholic solution available to their customers. They must also ensure that no one enters their premises without first disinfecting their hands.


As of July 24, 2020

Wearing a mask is mandatory

Service staff in public places such as restaurants, bars, dance halls, discos and similar establishments must wear a hygiene mask.

Collection of customer data from festive venues

Establishments offering drinks, and in which customers are standing or can move freely (bars, discos, etc.), have an obligation to collect the identity and a reliable means of contact of each customer. The operators of such establishments are criminally liable for any violation of this obligation.

The use of the CoGa.app platform, validated by the cantonal doctor's office, is recommended.


As of 6 July 2020: mandatory wearing of masks on public transport

In view of the increase in travel and the growing number of new infections since mid-June, the Federal Council has decided to strengthen protective measures and to make the wearing of masks compulsory from 6 July 2020 in all public transport (trains, trams, buses, cable cars, boats).

The obligation to wear masks (hygiene masks or masks made of textiles meeting industrial manufacturing standards) applies to all users (with the exception of children under 12 years of age and persons exempted for special reasons such as medical reasons) regardless of the number of people on public transport.

Any person who refuses to wear a mask will be required to leave the vehicle at the next stop. In case of refusal to comply, this person may be fined for non-compliance with a decision of the authority.

For more information:

Mandatory wearing of masks on public transport (FAQ) - FOPH (in French)


As of 22 June, return to near-normality and simplification of the rules to protect the population

Most of the measures to control the coronavirus have been lifted as of Monday 22 June.

  • The safety distance has been reduced from 2 metres to 1.5 metres. However, in the event of closer contact lasting more than 15 minutes, the risk of contamination remains very high. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to wear a mask when it is not possible to respect the safety distance, especially on public transport.
  • All places accessible to the public must have protection plans with simplified instructions.
  • Each and everyone of us is responsible for continuing to apply barrier measures to prevent a recurrence of contamination. Hand hygiene and distance remain the main protective measures.
  • Only large events involving more than 1,000 people remain banned until the end of August.

  • Events and assemblies of up to 1,000 people are once again permitted (cantons may lower this number if they deem it necessary), provided that contact tracing can be guaranteed at all times. Organisers will therefore have to ensure that the maximum number of people to be contacted does not exceed 300, for example by dividing the space into different sectors.

  • Event organisers must draw up and implement a protection plan wherein the following requirements shall apply:

  1. The protection plan must include measures relating to hygiene and distance;

  2. Distance may be reduced if appropriate protective measures, such as the use of a face mask or adequate separation, are in place;

  3. If it is not possible to maintain the required distance or to take protective measures for a certain period of time, provision must be made to collect the contact details of the persons present.

  4. The protection plan must designate a person responsible for the implementation of the plan and for contacts with the competent authorities.


  • Restaurant guests are once again allowed to stand. The curfew for restaurants, discotheques and nightclubs has been lifted.
  • Specific measures for companies, events and training facilities have been lifted. From now on, the same instructions will apply to all protection plans and there will no longer be any models drawn up by the Confederation.
  • The recommendation to work from home is lifted, as are the instructions regarding the protection of vulnerable persons. This means that vulnerable persons can also return to their workplace. However, employers are obliged to take all appropriate measures to protect the health of their employees in accordance with the Law on Labour.

  • The new public protection rules also apply to trade, industry and service providers not accessible to the public. Here, too, protection plans are not required. 

Third easing out phase as of 6 June 2020

As of 6 June 2020, the Federal Council plans to relax protective measures in the following areas by putting in place a protection plan:

  • Events up to 300 people (a decision will be taken on 24 June 2020 regarding events up to 1,000 people, while events with more than 1,000 people will remain prohibited until 31 August 2020.)
  • Events with up to 30 people (permitted from 30 May 2020 already)
  • Restaurants will be able to host more than 4 people per table (closed between 0:00 and 6:00 am)
  • Sports competitions with up to 300 participants (except for sports activities involving close physical contact, which remain prohibited until 6 July 2020)
  • Other schools or training institutions
  • Theatres, cinemas, concert halls
  • Swimming pools, sports centres for recreational activities, wellness centres
  • Botanical gardens and zoological parks
  • Discotheques, dance halls and nightclubs (up to 300 people per day and closing between 0:00 and 6:00 am)
  • Casinos
  • Erotic salons and prostitution services
  • Ski lifts
  • Religious services (religious services are permitted again as of 28 May 2020, provided that a protection plan has been submitted)

 The Federal Council plans to put an end to the extraordinary situation on the basis of the Epidemics Act as of 19 June 2020.

Second easing out phase as of 11 May 2020

As of 11 May 2020, the Federal Council has relaxed protective measures in the following fields:

  • Shops and markets will be able to reopen provided that protection plans for their staff and customers are in place.
  • Restaurants will once again be able to receive customers while respecting strict conditions.
  • Museums, libraries and archives (with the exception of reading rooms) will once more be able to welcome visitors.
  • Swimming pools and sports centres may open for the practice of sports activities provided that the protection plans are respected, but remain closed for recreational activities.

First easing out phase as of 27 April 2020

As of 27 April 2020, the Federal Council plans to relax protective measures in the following fields:

  • In the outpatient sector, medical practices - including in particular dental, physiotherapy and medical massage practices - may once again offer all their services, even non-emergency ones. In the inpatient sector, the cantons can limit non-emergency interventions performed by public and private hospitals and continue to require the availability of their resources.
  • Hairdressing, massage, tattoo and beauty salons may also reopen with protection measures in place for their staff and customers.
  • Do-it-yourself stores, garden centres, tree nurseries and florists may reopen provided they follow the same regulations as food stores.
  • Self-service facilities such as car washes, solariums and flower fields are accessible again.
  • Persons outside the immediate family of a deceased person may once again attend the funeral, but in strict compliance with hygiene and social distance régulations.


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